• Image Credit: AOL
  • Image Credit: AOL
  • Image Credit: AOL
  • Image Credit: AOL
  • Image Credit: AOL
  • Image Credit: AOL
  • Image Credit: AOL
  • Image Credit: AOL

Vital Stats

Engine:
3.6L V6
Power:
285 HP / 260 LB-FT
Transmission:
5-Speed Auto
Drivetrain:
4x4
Curb Weight:
3,976 LBS
Seating:
2+3
Cargo:
12.8 / 55 CU-FT
MPG:
17 City / 21 HWY
Base Price:
$33,095
As Tested Price:
$41,325
There will forever be a soft spot in my heart for the Jeep Wrangler. The last one I owned was red, and, as a 1990 model, had the square headlights derided by Jeep enthusiasts who grew up on the Civilian Jeeps that descended from their General Purpose military ancestors. As a teenager, I couldn't have cared less what shape its headlights happened to be – to me, a Jeep Wrangler represented freedom; a carefree do-it-all machine equally at home with the top stowed away in the summer or with the heater on full blast in the snowy clutches of Old Man Winter. In Dr. Seuss parlance, my square-headlighted Sneetch was just as worthy as any round-headlighted Sneetch.

All that said, I'll be the first person to advise against buying a Jeep Wrangler of any sort for owners who don't plan to use it as its makers intend. There's no good reason to punish yourself with a stiff and springy ride, a loud and somewhat drafty (though generally water-resistant) interior or the poor fuel economy expected of a block-shaped vehicle if you don't enjoy its other, more exciting benefits.

Of course, Jeep has done its darndest over the years to make the Wrangler as civilized as possible while keeping it as capable as federal law will allow. The 2013 Jeep Wrangler Moab edition is one of Jeep's latest attempts to attract attention from the upper reaches of the active lifestyle set, and I spent a week with one to see what makes the Moab special.

Driving Notes
  • While the stylized hood that comes as part of the Moab package doesn't have any actual effect on the vehicle's capabilities, it certainly looks good. In fact, it's such a cool design that it might be worth choosing a Moab over the Sahara model that it's based on for truly style-conscious buyers.
  • Similarly, the new 17-inch Rubicon alloy wheels look great on the Moab. Plus, their black finish complements all of the other black trim on the Moab, which includes the door handles, side mirrors, wheel flares and running boards.
  • Fitted to those wheels are Goodyear Silent Armor off-road tires with Kevlar reinforcement, measuring in at 245/75R17 at all four corners. These treads have a deep, blocky pattern that does a good job of digging in the dirt... or hauling you and your Wrangler up a massive pile of rocks. They proved much quieter on the road than I expected, too.
  • While there's simply no comparison to be made between the current Wrangler's soft top versus the medieval torture device that was the factory top in 1990, I'd still opt to pay an extra thousand dollars for the three-piece hardtop. The various zips, sliding wedges and ties that hold the Wrangler's roof to its folding apparatus remain a pain in the butt to fiddle with when all you want to do is hit the road and bask in the sun.
  • Included in the Moab package is an anti-spin rear differential, and I'd certainly recommend the optional electronic locking unit for serious Jeeper Creepers.
  • New bumpers front and rear featuring integrated tow hooks look pretty cool, and they'd look even better with a proper winch mounted front and center in the slot that Jeep has kindly made available.
  • While many Jeep owners bemoan the death of the 4.0-liter High Output inline six-cylinder engine, the reality is that the 3.6L Pentastar is a much more refined and powerful engine. I would, of course, choose the standard six-speed manual transmission, but this test vehicle was fitted with the optional five-speed automatic unit. It shifted through the gears with nary a complaint, but it's a few cogs short of true satisfaction.
  • If you want to be noticed, look no further than a Wrangler painted in the hue you see above, known to Jeep buyers as Gecko. If you'd rather be a bit more chameleon, consider black or white and avoid the similarly bright Rock Lobster, Dozer or Crush paint.
  • With a base price of $22,395, the Jeep Wrangler is one of the cheapest ways to enjoy open-top motoring in the United States in 2013, at least if you're buying new. Wrangler pricing jumps quickly as you pile on options, though. A 2013 Wrangler Moab lists at $33,095 in two-door guise, and a four-door Unlimited starts at $36,595. A fully loaded Moab can crest $40k.
  • As I said in the introduction, there's no reason to drive a Wrangler if you're not going to use it. That applies even more so when you step up the ladder to something like the Moab, which costs more because it can do more and go farther. And if that's your goal, there's no better way to do get to where other people can't than in a Jeep Wrangler.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 39 Comments
      Serenespeed
      • 1 Year Ago
      I'll wait for the $26k WIlly's.
      Pete Moss
      • 1 Year Ago
      On a humorous note, though…It seems as though the media crew is tired of reviewing all the special edition JK's. "Hey, just go drive this one on top of that pile of river rocks over there, snap a few pics, and call it a day."
      Drew Kunter
      • 1 Year Ago
      Just a small bone of contention with this....the 2014\'s are out and the colors listed are not available!
      oneviwatara
      • 1 Year Ago
      41 thousand piece of crap.
      rmkensington
      • 1 Year Ago
      $42k?? Ouch!
        Bigbmc26
        • 1 Year Ago
        @rmkensington
        I'd take the base and head straight to Quadratec and get everything I need for MOAB and more, save 10 grand... 42K is ridiculous for a Wrangler, I remember when they were under 16K new!
          Bradford
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Bigbmc26
          Your point on increasing cost isn't very fair. I, too, remember test driving a brand new MY 2000 Wrangler that the dealer had listed for $13,995. But that Wrangler couldn't even compare to this one. Whatever you would consider "base model"... it was about three steps below that. No A/C or carpet. No radio, speakers, or wiring for sound at all. Not even a back seat! The back seat was a $1,000 option. You can't compare that $14k 2-door Wrangler to this $42,000, optioned to the gills, 4-door model. It's not even in the same ballpark. If you must compare, try the $22k 2-door Sport. Even that is leaps and bounds more impressively outfitted than the MY2000 Jeep, but it's as basic as they get these days.
      Big Squid
      • 1 Year Ago
      I'm glad Jeep is still building Jeeps.
      Rob
      • 1 Year Ago
      I remember looking at a Wrangler a few years ago and just being turned off due solely to the price. It was December in upstate NY and the one I looked at has been test driven a few times and had about 40 miles on it. The bolts and tow hooks on the bumper were already beginning to rust. The interior was excessively cheap looking and feeling also. They are cool vehicles but I couldn't justify the $30k+ sticker for a vehicle that doesn't seem to have more than $5000 in materials used to build it.
        Kyle
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Rob
        well, considering the fact that Chrysler can't make Jeep Wranglers fast-enough to keep up with demand, and that the Wrangler has the highest resale value of any auto on the market, i'd say the MSRP is more than justified.
        Snark
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Rob
        Adjusted for inflation, they're cheaper than they've ever been, and I guarantee it costs more than $5000 to build them.
        threefortyduster
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Rob
        In other words...you didn't need one in the first place and shouldn't have been looking at them. I will also call BS on the tow hooks and bolts rusting.
        Chris
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Rob
        If you're going to complain to complain about this vehicle's interior then you are going about it all wrong as these are not luxury SUVs. People buy them for their rugged capabilities, and/or just the overall fun factor of cruising high up with the doors off and top down. Personally, I love vehicles like this, and wish there was a few more.
      eastbaysubaru
      • 1 Year Ago
      You mention the stylized hood but then don't show a picture of it.
        Matt44
        • 1 Year Ago
        @eastbaysubaru
        http://www.autotrucktoys.com/jeep/images/M82213135-Jeep-Wrangler-Power-Dome-Hood.jpg
        Camaroman101
        • 1 Year Ago
        @eastbaysubaru
        its in the second gallery
      JeepinBen
      • 1 Year Ago
      Nice review. I had a '91 and then a '98 Wrangler and while I loved both I have to say that they make much better toys than they did daily drivers. The Jeep was actually a perfect first car in that it had good 4WD for the winter (no ABS, but with the manual I would downshift), a convertible for summer, and it was pretty slow so my parents didn't worry about me setting any speed records. It's just too bad that Jeeps hold their value so well, a used Rubicon would make a great toy...
        Bradford
        • 1 Year Ago
        @JeepinBen
        I have always maintained that Jeep Wranglers and stick-shift pickups make the best first vehicles for new drivers. Slow, low insurance costs, cheap maintenance, great capability...
        icemilkcoffee
        • 1 Year Ago
        @JeepinBen
        4WD is not ideal for winter. AWD is better for driving on the highway in snowy weather.
          onewayroll
          • 1 Year Ago
          @icemilkcoffee
          Snow tires are better for driving on the highway in snowy conditions.
          JeepinBen
          • 1 Year Ago
          @icemilkcoffee
          Well, sure. The lack of a center mounted differential meant that it wasn't a purpose designed snow machine, but it's not like snow stopped the thing. The Wrangler still has a manually actuated transfer case, so I could use 4-High when needed.
      Avinash Machado
      • 1 Year Ago
      An American Icon.
      Termin8
      • 1 Year Ago
      I concur that the Wrangler isn't a great daily driver. Gas mileage sucks, performance sucks, ride quality sucks, the two-door version has very little storage/hauling room, and isn't very "utility" minded, and the soft top is terribly hard to put up. That being said, it's still so much fun that I'd have a hard time getting rid of our 2010 Mango Tango toy!!
        threefortyduster
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Termin8
        Well, the fuel mileage and performance has changed quite a bit from 2010's 3.8l minivan motor to the Pentastar and 5 speed. Talking 0-60 in the low 7s now...just insane when you think about it. btw, You get what owning a Jeep is all about. It's not meant to be a mall cruiser, not meant to be a Benz, it does what it does well. It is a toy, and it is a damn good one.
      Julio Blanco
      • 1 Year Ago
      The Wrangler is indeed a very care-free vehicle. What else would you drive that looks better dirty than nicely detailed? A couple of things I would disagree with the writer are that the hard top is heavy and cumbersome to remove and you will end up simply not removing it again or storing it in the garage. I bought my 2012 Wrangler because I knew I wanted to take the top and the doors off. The other disagreement would be the price specifically for the MOAB edition. Half the fun of owning a Wrangler is buying the cheapest version and customizing it to your preferences.
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